UN warns xenophobia, racism and intolerance practices as Rwanda commemorates genocide against the Tutsi
UN Secretary General has warned people of xenophobia, racism and intolerance practices all over the world.
Twenty-five years after 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, a candle-lit commemoration was held at the UN headquarters on Friday, with caution against xenophobia, racism and denial of the tragedy dominating the theme.
After lights were dimmed in the UN General Assembly hall, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Rwandan President Paul Kagame, among other UN and Rwandan representatives, lit up the candles near the podium. Delegates of UN member states switched “ablaze” the imitation candles in front of their seats.
“On this Day, we honor those who were murdered and reflect on the suffering and resilience of those who survived,” sadi Guterres adding “Today we stand in solidarity with the people of Rwanda.”
“As we renew our resolve to prevent such atrocities from ever happening again, we are seeing dangerous trends of rising xenophobia, racism and intolerance in many parts of the world.” He warned
Particularly, he pointed to the current widespread proliferation of hate speech and incitement to violence, things that were very clearly present in Rwanda immediately before the genocide.
The UN chief called on political, religious and civil society leaders to reject hate speech and discrimination, and to work vigorously to address and mitigate the root causes that undermine social cohesion and create conditions for hatred and intolerance.
President Kagame, on his part, stressed “Remembrance is an act of honor,” and that honor should go to the victims, the courage of the survivors, and the manner in which the Rwandans have come to rebuild their nation.
Remembrance is also an act of prevention, he said. “When genocide is dormant, it takes the form of denial and trivialization… Countering denial is essential for breaking the cycle and preventing any recurrence.”